The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday (April 7, 2019) ordered re-polling at 168 polling booths in 26 assembly constituencies of Tripura West parliamentary constituency. The repolling is on May 12 from 7 am to 5 pm. The voting in the constituency was held during the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 11. The chief electoral officer, special observer, general observers and the returning officer had written to EC and order was taken on that basis.
“After taking all material circumstances into account, the Election Commission (EC) declared … that the polling on April 11, 2019, at 168 polling stations in 1-Tripura West parliamentary constituency against the assembly segments to be void and appoints May 12 as the date and fix hours from 7 am to 5 pm for taking a fresh poll,” said poll body in an official statement released.
Allegations by opposition parties
Alleging violations by the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) at several booths, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had demanded re-polling in 774 of the 1,679 booths, where voting was held on April 11, reported Hindustan Times. Congress state Vice-President Pijush Kanti Biswas had also alleged that top BJP leaders in Delhi were influencing the EC to hold re-polls in only a few polling stations to ensure their victory. Both the opposition parties alleged large-scale rigging, booth capturing, intimidation and attacks by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Urging the Election Commission of India to take necessary steps to ensure a free and fair election, CPI(M) secretary Goutam Das had demanded the election commission to issue instructions for conducting re-polling in the constituencies.
“A majority of voters could not exercise their franchise on April 11 and the Election Commission of India should take steps to allow them to enjoy their constitutional rights. We demand that the Election Commission issues instructions for re-polling in these booths. Moreover, if the Commission feels the need to conduct re-polls in the entire West Tripura constituency, we will surely welcome it,” Das had said to Hindustan Times.
According to a report of Times of India both the oppositions parties – The Congress and The CPI(M) – had threatened to move the Supreme Court if fresh polls were not ordered in at least 50 percent of polling booths in West Tripura.
Tripura has two Lok Sabha seats – East & West. Voter turnout in the West Lok Sabha seat that went for polling on April 11 was at 83 percent. According to the data published by the Election Commission of India, with 83.26 percent, Tripura was among the top five states that witnessed the highest voter turnout, during the first phase of Lok Sabha elections.
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